Another Campbell County attorney has been suspended from practicing law.
On Friday, Michael Hatmaker had his license suspended for five years. Four years of the suspension will be a total suspension of his law privileges while the last can be served on probation with oversight and monitoring by an approved professional.
Hatmaker, who at one time was one of the most prominent attorneys in the area, received his suspension following a discipline complaint that was filed in April 2017, according to an Order of Enforcement handed down by the state Supreme Court on Friday.
Within that order, it appears the initial complaint was filed in April 2017 with a series of supplemental petitions added to the complaint as the Board of Professional Responsibility (BPR) reviewed the allegations against Hatmaker. In the end, Hatmaker entered into a conditional guilty plea with the BPR to resolve the disciplinary issues.
When the BPR issued its press release about Hatmaker’s disciplinary issues, the release included the nature of the allegations lodged against him.
Among the multiple allegations referenced, the first one was Hatmaker “made material misrepresentations to clients and opposing counsel,” according to the release. Aside from not being forthcoming with either his own clients or other attorneys involved in his cases, Hatmaker was alleged to have not communicated with his clients or to have “diligently” represented them.
The long-time attorney also agreed he was guilty of not maintaining his client’s funds in a trust account designated for that purpose. Hatmaker isn’t the first local attorney to face this allegation. His nephew and former attorney, Wes Hatmaker, is currently serving a prison sentence for the same charge as another Campbell County attorney, Mark Troutman, is on probation for the same crime.
Lastly, Hatmaker agreed he was guilty of not expediting his client’s cases, instead allowing them to stall out in the court system.
Before Hatmaker’s suspension can be lifted, he must satisfy a number of conditions outlined by the BPR. The first being that he pays Pat Donahue $21,200 she received from him through a court order. While the BPR didn’t elaborate about the nature of the debt, it did say it was an outstanding judgment that had been entered in favor of Donahue through the general sessions court.
That isn’t the only debt, Hatmaker must pay. He must also pay the BPR $2,400.22 for the cost of his case along with any fees owed to the clerk. This must be paid in 90 days, the Order of Enforcement said.
All outstanding continuing education classes must be taken and his privilege tax, a tax assessed to licensed professionals, must also be paid, the order said. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED-10/15/2018-6AM)